Ryan Dalziel and Starworks Clinch FIA World Endurance Title
|Pictures courtesy of John Dagys|
The Scot – who lives in Windermere, Florida – and team-mates Enzo Potolicchio, from Venezuela, and French star Stephane Sarrazin knew they only had to better the result of their Pecom Racing rivals.
They managed to bring the #44 Starworks HPD Honda home two laps clear of the #49 car, in second place behind the ADR-Delta entry.
That was enough for the celebrations to start in the Starworks garage as they added the world title to class wins at Sebring in Forida, the Le Mans 24 Hours in France, and Brazil. They were also on the podium at Silverstone although Ryan missed their third place in Bahrain.
Ryan – originally from Lanarkshire in Scotland – produced a storming stint that set Stephane up perfectly to wrap up the result.
RYAN SAYS: “This has been the best year I have ever had in racing. It is good for me. I have a good reputation in America, but I was able to come and be up against someone like Stephane. People have seen I can run with him. It has been a big eye-opener for me. We finished second in Grand-Am’s Rolex championship, we won the North American Endurance Championship as a team and driver, then we have won this as well. It is a shame there is not an individual award, but everyone involved in this deserves to call themselves a world champion.”
RYAN ON THE RACE: “It was one of the most aggressive races I have ever done. I went through the whole of Le Mans without getting touched by a car. Here it seemed people kept bouncing off us. When you look at the outcome and what you need to do to win a championship, it puts pressure on you. All the drivers made mistakes, the crew made some mistakes, but we rebounded well and showed the character. That is what makes us champions. Towards the end of the race we were having issues but we all hung in there together and we made it work.”
RYAN ON TITLE: “It will probably take a little while to sink in. We have been so strong. It was a program that I felt kept getting stronger and stronger. When you look at the results we have had, it is incredible that a first-year team with no experience in motorsport outside of North America and with engineers who had never been outside America, could come here and do this.
“It all comes down to having the right people in place. We took the right decision in going for the Honda HPD chassis, then the Dunlop tires worked well with the car.
“A lot of our success came from having a reliable car – not necessarily the fastest car. It is incredible to put your name next to a world championship. I don’t care whether it is a team championship or a driver championship – in racing it is a team and we all deserved to win this.”
RYAN ON REALISING THEY COULD WIN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: “I think it was after Le Mans. That was when we felt it was a realistic aim. At Sebring, we had a good, safe, solid run on home soil. We had a reality check at Spa. That was a tough race for us, but when we got to Le Mans and won a 24-hour race in such a dominant way and trouble-free, then we thought there was no reason why we couldn’t win the rest of them. Everything has been so strong since then – the issue they had in Bahrain has really been the only mechanical glitch all year. We went into it feeling we had built a championship-winning team, and – with a race still to go – we can say we are a championship-winning team.”
RYAN ON PARTYING AND CHINA: “We have definitely taken the pressure off for China. We can go there and have some fun. It would be really special to go there and win it. Then we would get to celebrate it. That would be the official crowing and the official party time.”
THE FACTS: Ryan will be back in action this weekend at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Ryan and Starworks Motorsport started the FIA World Endurance Championship with an LMP2 class win and third place overall at Sebring in Florida and a class win in Brazil as well as winning their class at the Le Mans 24 Hours, where Tom Kimber-Smith was in the car with Ryan and Enzo. They also came second at Silverstone with Sarrazin replacing Kimber-Smith.
Ryan also grabbed an LMPC class win and third place overall in the CORE autosport car at Long Beach in California as well as a third place in class at Mosport in Canada.
Ryan came second in Grand-Am’s Rolex Sports Car Series. He was second in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and third in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, then had his first Grand-Am win of the season at Watkins Glen. He was third at Laguna Seca.
He had four Rolex Grand-Am podiums in 2011 – a win at Mid-Ohio and third at Barber, Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. He also had three fourth-place finishes. Ryan also gave Starworks Motorsport its first DP victory, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in 2008.
Find out more at www.ryandalziel.com.